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We went back up to visit my dad this weekend for
the second time in two weeks.
It is important to go as often as we can allow ourselves to drive the distance.
He looked tired and we knew the drug he had been given opens up the airways and allows for air to flow adding color to his face. 
His moods were shifting from intense grumpiness to a smile and small conversation.
It is not often relational or even ‘real’ heart to heart talking
but it is listening to his voice and sensing his presence in the room
that makes the trip worth it for me.
A few days earlier he had a cortisone drip along with an infusion session to fight against the leukemia process.
It helps him for a small season of time but within that process of helping he is given a false sense of energy and stamina and feels like he can do more than he is able.
At one point in our visit he stood up and walked across the room.
We were startled to see him do this as he has not been able to walk that strong for weeks.
It is a false sense of strength for him and he becomes wired emotionally and later physically pulled into a direction of deep fatigue as the drug works itself out of his system.
Cancer is such an evil force.
Our pastor was talking yesterday about the fight between the light and the dark and the spiritual battle we all must deal with.
As I listened to him I saw my dad in a different kind of war of his own.
I could visualize each army of fighter cells armed with weapons of warfare to take him down physically.
It is a force he cannot always reckon with.
His energy is very low and when the prednisone drug is not in his system his breathing is very labored and his stamina very weak.
He agreed to exchange his walker for a motorized wheelchair which helps him move without using too much air.
His normal self is leaving and he is emotionally fighting the process.
It is always hard to give up and give in to the the many changes one must make when an illness takes over.
The process of dying is so hard on all involved.
I have often said it is like the experience of labor and delivery only one is coming into the world and in the dying process one is leaving.
We don’t know when dad will leave us.
We had a good visit and we purposely didn’t stay long as his stamina is low and each visit requires him to push himself.
He does not have the air strength to keep conversation flowing so he listens more than talks.
When we said we were leaving he stood up to say goodbye to us.
When I hugged him I wondered to myself if it would be our last and even wondered how would I remember him. The delicate journey between a father and a daughter is both frustrating and fragile.
When an illness takes over the family dynamics change and life is different for a season.
The grown ‘children’ become the caretakers and as difficult as it is
one would hope and pray that memories stay good and words stay kind.
When an illness takes over and final goodbyes are said
we pray for no regrets and no bad feelings left in our hearts
when a father and daughter says goodbye for the last time.